Intensive 15-plus year remediation nears the finish line

CFB Goose Bay was a very different place in 1941. The Labrador base was a bustling, staging hub built in partnership with the United States to support the war effort. Environmental regulations, of course, were also much different then.

Today, Goose Bay is quieter – but the work going on there is still notable. For the past 15-plus years, it’s been home to one of the largest environmental clean-ups undertaken by the Department of National Defence, to remove the impact of waste and spills from the bygone era.

“It’s one of the most intensive remediation projects by DND,” said Annette Murphy, DCC Team Leader, Environmental Services in Halifax.

The first contract on the Goose Bay remediation project was awarded in 2005. With over 100 contracts awarded since then to address over 100 individual contamination sites divided into 10 sub-projects, the final cost is set to come in under the originally-estimated total of $300 million.

Along the way, there have been other signs of the changing times at Goose Bay, such as updated environmental regulations and management processes.

“We’re forging our way in certain situations with some of the risk management processes and our fieldwork,” said Murphy, highlighting specifically their early work with the LNAPL (Light Non-Aqueous Phase Liquids) Framework and in analyzing hydrocarbons.

Looking back on the work completed to date will be valuable in the future, but it isn’t where the project team is putting its highest attention right now.

“We’re focused on the end goal,” said Murphy – who started on the project in 2004. “When I first started working on the Goose Bay Remediation Project, the 2020 date seemed very far away and now it’s roaring towards us.”


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